Sweden’s oldest inmate remains locked up for life

Sweden's oldest murder convict will remain locked up after a court ruled there was a high risk of the 90-year-old killing again.

Sweden's oldest inmate remains locked up for life
The Salberga prison, where the man is serving his punishment. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Örebro District Court on Tuesday rejected the nonagenarian's request – the latest in a series of several requests – to have his life imprisonment sentence reduced to a time-limited punishment.

The man, Helmer Ljus, was found guilty of murder in 1999, at the age of 71, for having killed his elderly, bedridden neighbour. He was also convicted in 1988 for killing a person in a wheelchair.

“It's not unlikely that something like that could happen again,” judge Björn Lindén told the TT newswire.

In its decision the court cited the National Board of Forensic Medicine which had found that Ljus was “still at good vigor” despite some physical ailments.

“Usually, certain personality traits, such as impulsivity and lack of self-control, decrease with age. In view of the fact that (he) committed his violent crime at a high age, aimed at weakened individuals, this does not seem to apply to him,” read the medical report.

The court also noted that Ljus had not taken part in any rehabilitation activities during his time in jail and that he had refused to undergo treatment for alcoholism.

“He has killed two people, both were disabled and both times it was a question of alcohol abuse. He has not addressed that problem and the associated aggression problems,” said Lindén.

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